Blake Christiana said his band Yarn doesn’t get back to Brooklyn much these days.
The Americana/alt country band, which headlines the season’s final Live on the Levee Friday, was founded in New York in 2007 when everyone lived in the area. Almost no one does now.
“There’s only one guy left in Brooklyn,” Christiana said. “We got a couple of guys living in Connecticut. My bass player is moving to Raleigh.”
That’s where Christiana lives now, too.
Brooklyn was great, he said, and had a thriving Americana music scene — not that he felt Yarn was really a part of it.
“I lived there for 12 years,” he said. “It had a good, strong music scene that I didn’t know about when I started Yarn. I only really became aware of it when I started playing a lot more.”
Christiana said there was a lot to love about being in New York, just from the angle of wanting to play music. The quality of musicians in New York is very high.
“When you started a band, you knew you were going to find really great players,” he said. “New York is just a good place to start a band. It’s always been a hotbed for music.”
But living in New York is very expensive, even for an up-and-coming Americana band.
“In Brooklyn, I had a roommate every year,” he said. “When I was on the road, I was subletting. It was just a big headache.”
Moving to North Carolina had its perks.
“It’s cheap down here,” Christiana said. “I’ve got a backyard with patio furniture.”
Raleigh doesn’t have the same music scene, but he said the quality of life is hard to beat. Creature comforts count.
He moved for more than just the cheaper rent and groceries, though. He moved for love.
“I moved because of my lady,” Christiana said and laughed.
He has no regrets about that.
Christiana said Yarn is spread out a little more than it used to be, but the band is much the same as it has always been. There’s still plenty of touring and spending a lot of time on the road.
“There is no slacking off for us,” he said. “We never slack off, unfortunately.”
Christiana said Yarn was on pace to for 130 or 140 shows this year, which is pretty good for a band frequently separated by geography.
The band is also working on a new record, which it hopes to have finished sometime during the fall or early winter.
Christiana said, “We spent five days recording in the studio of a friend in Virginia. He’d just built the studio, and we were kind of guinea pigs there. It was really great for us. No pressure, no expectations.”
He said the band planned to go through the recordings in the coming weeks and hoped to find enough there to put together the next album.
It all feels very similar to how Yarn has done things in the past, but Christiana acknowledged leaving New York has changed how he writes some.
He said, “I used to write a lot with a friend. He still lives in Brooklyn. He had this muse quality going for him, and sometimes he’d have a book full of lyrics and we’d just work from that.”
Christiana sometimes emails him things, but usually he doesn’t.
“I still start the songs and bring them to the band to help fill out and give them that Yarn quality,” he said. “That part hasn’t changed.”
The singer added that writing, in general, has gotten more difficult.
“It’s hard to write songs when you’ve written so many for one band,” he said.
It used to be easier.
“I guess I’m a little more insecure and a little more picky,” he laughed.
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